So yeah, I got excited about Kony 2012. I watched the video, I shared it, I had tears in my eyes, I reached for my credit card – and then I stopped. I started researching on the net (how did we find information before the internet?), reading some news articles about this man, about his army, about Uganda.
I wrote my last blog because, yes, I was actually excited about Kony 2012 and the idea that people power could change something. I’m not beating myself up about that. I’m not going to apologise about having hope.
There are so many places in the world that need help. Not just white-man-in-developed-country-will-send-you-money-and-feel-better-themselves help, real help. But there are millions of people sitting through the TV screen, sitting on the other end of a computer asking themselves, “how can I help? I’m on the other side of the world? What can I do?”
When Haiti was ravaged by earthquakes, and Victoria by bushfires, we were told by charitable organisations: “The best thing you can do, is send money. Money can be used properly, in the best possible way.”
My favourite volunteer organisation, VIN in Nepal, need money. They need money to help the children who are orphaned, homeless, illiterate. They need money to buy materials to build toilets in communities, to better improve hygiene, and save lives.
It is not fair to have a go at people who donate money, share a video, or are talking about Kony. It’s not fair to have a go at people who sign online petitions or lend their support through social networking means. It IS wrong that people sometimes don’t know what they are signing for, but don’t be harsh on people just because they want to help, but are not in the position to do so.
It will interesting in the next few months to see what happens to Kony 2012. The anti-Invisible Children sites have come out, followed by the Invisible Children rebuttal and declaration against the crimes held against them over money and motives.
If the conspiracy theories are correct and the entire Kony campaign has been created by the American government as a way into Africa for oil and influence, or if this group of people are using this cause to put money in their pockets, then yes, this will be a tragic turn of events to follow the hype of the first few days.
I thought for a moment about how I would feel if I was in a troubled country and there was a viral video going around asking people to come in and help me and my countrypeople. I might look around and say, hey – my country can look after itself. I trust my leaders, we know what’s going on, why are they sticking their noses in, thinking they know better?
But also, I thought, what if I needed help? What if I couldn’t get information out to the world? We have all been rocked by the sights of Egypt, Libya and now the heart-wrenching situation of Syria. There is really, NOTHING I can do for Syria right now, except talk about Syria, and lend my voice to the international pleas for peace.
That is why people are sharing, clicking, donating to this Kony cause. Because the thousands of faces in the video made us feel that maybe, maybe this one will work – just a few more people, a little bit more inertia, a win.
Of course I worry that it is not worth it, or all will come to nothing, but in the world we live in today, so disconnected that phones and computers are what connect us, I would be more worried that such a cause existed, such a video was made public, and no-one even cared.